Posted in Life, Southern California

My Profile Story on the Faces of GM Blog

Here is the link to a story about the Auto Show Program I created on the Faces of GM Blog. Or you can just watch the video below.

Posted in Life, movies, Personal Challenge

Burn Movie Premiere: Personal Challenge, Day 43 (10.29.12)

Tonight was the LA Premiere of a film that is very near and dear to my heart.  The film was made by two of my friends and it is about my hometown of Detroit.  This film is called Burn: A Year on the Front Lines of the Battle to Save Detroit.

This is a documentary on the lives of the firefighters in Detroit.  It will make you laugh, it will make you cry and it will open your eyes to what is really going on in our own country in terms of budget cuts made by politicians and how those cuts affect the working class.  I cried several times throughout the film.  It also made me a little homesick–with everyone drinking Vernors and talking about going to eat at National Coney Island.

At the premiere, I had the chance to spend some time with the firefighters who are featured in the film.  They flew out to LA just to be there for the Grauman’s Egyptian Theater premiere.  We all reveled in what a small world it is.  One firefighter, “Doogie,” went to school in the same school district and graduated a year after me.  It turns out that we used to hang out at the same places and were probably there at the same time.  Another firefighter, Dave Miller, lives fairly close to my older brother.  After seeing this film, I feel like I know them, like they are family.  I received several hugs from Dave Parnell, a retired Detroit firefighter, that evening, just because I am a Detroit native and I support this film.

It opens this Friday in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Noho 7 in North Hollywood.  This film will change your lives and it may even just change the way you vote next Tuesday.  Check out the Burn website for more information, to see the movie trailer, or to find out if it is going to be playing in any theaters near you.

Posted in Family, Life, movies

BURN: One Year on the Front Lines of the Battle to Save Detroit

Please check out this trailer for a documentary called Burn: One Year on the Front Lines of the Battle to Save Detroit, made by two of my very talented friends.  This film is very near and dear to my heart, not just because my friends made it but because it is about my home town.  This is an amazing film that my own sister-in-law said was life-changing.  If you live in the Los Angeles area, the film is premiering on October 29th at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood.  You can check out the Burn website to see if it will be screened in your area, if it is not, please donate to the film so it can reach more theaters across the country.  And to my friends back home, Burn opens in Sterling Heights at the AMC Forum 30 on December 30th–so if you missed the Detroit Premiere, you can check it out then.

So please, help support my hometown and the heroes trying to save it.

Posted in Family, Life

When Tragedy Strikes!

Today an accident occurred in my home leaving two injured and another with critical life threatening injuries.  It is a sad day today.

The morning started off fairly normal, for Spring Break.  I was excited when the mail arrived and I received the packages that my parents sent me from Detroit.  I have been waiting for these boxes that contained Thomas the Train bedroom decor for my honorary nephew, Lex.  The other box contained Pirates of the Caribbean decor for my real nephew’s bedroom in my house.

My mother had mentioned that she sent some of my Christmas presents that I had left behind.  So as I started unpacking the boxes, I realized that she had included my 7 Michigan Gnomes.  My heart started to pound when I noticed that they were not bubble-wrapped.  They were simply rolled up in plastic grocery bags.  This is where the horror began.

I opened the Detroit Lions Gnome first.  I heard something rattling in his hollow body and after further inspection, I noticed that he was missing the point off his head.  (A Detroit Lion losing points, interesting).  Then I reached for the next Gnome, my Michigan Football Gnome.  Again, I heard the rattling.  This time he was missing part of his hand, arm and the bottom of the football.  A Michigan Gnome without his football is devastating.  I was too afraid to continue.  Each Gnome was looking worse and worse.  But I realized I had to push through it, I was strong enough to survive this Ginormous devastation.

Instantly my heart sank when I heard rattling as I lifted the bag.  I peeked in and gasped.  The Red Wings Gnome had sustained the worst penalty known to a Gnome.  His pointy hat was destroyed.  He was amputated at the knees.  And worst of all, his hockey stick was ripped from his hands.  The Lions Gnome and Michigan Gnome have a chance of surviving–with a few parts missing–but I don’t think I have enough Gorilla glue to put the Red Wings Gnome back together again.

But I won’t give up on my Gnome.  Snow White had her seven dwarfs and with God as my witness, I will have my seven Gnomes.  I will do everything in my power to piece them back together, no matter how long it takes or how much glue I have to buy.  And so what if they are not perfect in the end.  Everyone has flaws, no one is perfect.  Their scars show their strength and give them character.  Like I always say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

Viva La Gnomes!

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Posted in Family, Life

Happy Paczki Day!

That’s right, it is Paczki Day!  I’m from Detroit, I am part Polish and I am a recovering Catholic.  So while others are getting their Mardi Gras on, I am wishing I was home, in the D, enjoying a lovely custard-filled Paczki straight from Hamtramck, My Mom’s hometown.

If you have no idea what a Paczki is, then you are not from Detroit and you are not Polish.  A Paczki is a traditional Polish Donut.  It is about a million calories and a million grams of fat.  In Hamtramck, the Polish capital of Detroit (maybe even the USA, or at least it used to be), they make them fresh for Fat Tuesday.  People special order them and wait in line for hours to get a fresh made Paczki.  I can smell one now–thank god for sensory memory and imagination.

There is no other donut in the world like a Paczki.  You savor every bite and imprint the enjoyment into your memory because you will have to wait an entire year before you once again taste the sweet nectar of the Polish Gods.  For me, it has been years since I have enjoyed the doughy goodness of a Paczki.  It is on this day, every year for the past 4 years, that I have hated being in Los Angeles.  For just one day, I would love to fly home, drive into Hamtramck and pick up a dozen Paczkis (& some White Castles, Faygo, Better Made, and National Coney Island Hanis).  That would be my perfect “Fat Tuesday.”

But alas, I am in a city where you can get food from every nationality except Polish.  Well, at least I haven’t found any good Polish establishments anywhere.  I am usually the one who makes the Polish food for my friends at parties.  From sauerkraut & Kielbasa to Piergois, it is up to me to bring a little Polish-American culture to my friends and adopted family.

But to be completely honest, I would give it all up–the sun, the sand, the weather–for just one custard-filled Paczki.  That’s how good it is!

Posted in Family, Life, Music

Joey Performs with the School of Rock

My six-year old nephew, Joey (aka Mini-Me) performed tonight at the Ritz in Warren, Michigan with the St. Clair Shores School of Rock.  Again, he is only six and he plays the keyboards & sings for the Doors and Pink Floyd covers.  I really wish I could have been there.  But thankfully has live coverage of performances in the Detroit area so this SoCal Aunt could watch her mini-me perform 3000 miles away.  Enjoy & Rock On!

The Doors

Pink Floyd

Posted in Holidays, Life

Merry Christmas!

I am sitting in the terminal at the Burbank Airport, waiting for the boarding process to begin.  I am flying home to Detroit for the holidays.  It is a very long day of layovers and trying to survive off of two bags of peanuts over 8 hours but this is what must be done in order to spend time with my family.

When I was in college, flying at the holidays was a nightmare.  But I learned fast that if you fly on Christmas day, not only do you save hundreds of dollars on your ticket but you also don’t have to deal with the crowds.  I checked in my bags and made it through security in about 10 minutes.  That is a rarity.

But as I sit here, I look forward to seeing my family and having Christmas morning tomorrow (on the 26th).  My 6 year old nephew told his whole class how he celebrates Christmas on the 26th “because that is when my Kaa is here and Christmas is about spending time with loved ones.”

So Merry Christmas everyone.  I have to go board my plane now.